CHARLES TOWN — Unemployment in Jefferson County went from 5.3 percent in January to 4.3 percent in March, a full 1 percent decrease.
The total number of county residents collecting unemployment fell from 1,270 in February to 1,080 in March.
Unemployment rates declined in all 55 counties during March. Five counties reported unemployment rates of 12 percent or higher including Clay at 14.6 percent, Webster at 13.3 percent, Wirt at 12.6 percent and Calhoun and Roane, both at 12.0 percent. Counties with unemployment rates at 6 percent or less included Monroe at 6.0, Harrison at 5.8 percent, Pendleton at 5.5 percent, Jefferson at 4.3 percent and Monongalia at 4.1 percent.
Since March 2012, total non-farm payroll employment has added 1,000 jobs, with a gain of 2,700 in the service-providing sector, offsetting a decline of 1,700 jobs in the goods-producing sector.
Employment declines included 900 jobs in construction, 1,200 jobs in manufacturing, 100 jobs in information, 200 jobs in financial activities, and 700 jobs in other services.
Employment gains included 400 in mining and logging, 200 in trade, transportation, and utilities, 200 in professional and business services, 2,000 in educational and health services, 1,200 in leisure and hospitality and 100 in government.
West Virginia’s unemployment is dropping while the national statistics remain bleak. Nationally, the unemployment rate declined 1/10 of a percentage point to 7.6 percent in March.
Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito said the March statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not a good sign.
“The newest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics spell trouble for our nation’s flagging economy,” she said. “Not only did hundreds of thousands of Americans flee the work force last month but our nation’s economy added a mere 88,000 jobs. Even worse, unemployment claims increased for the third consecutive time.”
Capito said Americans have stopped looking for jobs.
Capito blames the sagging economy on the president’s anti-energy policies that prevent energy-rich states like West Virginia from creating jobs.